This week's sortie was totally successful from a data collection point of view.

Our first flight netted 706 RGB+nIR images and the second 471 nIR images.  This will keep our research student busy for many hours!  These images will now be taken into Pix4UAV and stitched into 3-D orthomosaics.

The students also walked around the area with our hand-held spectroradiometer, taking measurements of various plants and trees.  We hope that these measurements can be correlated with the UAV images.

What was the little scare?  The Hawk is landed by bringing it back to the launch point and then handing over control to the autopilot to decrease the altitude and deploy a parachute.  The autopilot calculates wind speed and direction and then flies upwind to deploy the parachute, after which the aircraft should float down to land close to the take-off point.

On this occasion, the telemetry reported a wind speed and direction that didn't correspond with my measurements on the ground.  The aircraft flew overhead and we expected it to do another circuit, but it headed off towards some trees and bush to the west of our flying area.  The chute deployed and we had a few moments of 'concern' as it floated towards the trees.  In the event, the landing was in a small clearing and we were able to recover the aircraft without needing to climb trees.

Next week, we will be accompanied by a radio reporter, who wants to talk to our students on-site and obtain suitable sound bites for her report.  We must make sure there are no further exciting moments and that we sound totally professional!